The rush of arrival and welcome on his first day in the United States

Bilal Sijok first came to the United States in 2014 at age 17. (Photo by Othman Alamoudi)

Bilal Sijok first moved to the United States from Tripoli, Libya, as a high school exchange student through the Kennedy-Luger Youth Exchange and Study program. Sijok spent his first day in Portland, Oregon, before arriving in Camas, Washington, where he would attend his senior year of high school.

Before his departure from Lybia, Sijok spent the week in a village about 100 miles outside the capital with extended family and because of militia conflict in Tripoli. Because there was no available airport in Libya, Sijok drove to Tunisia with his father to begin the multi-flight journey to the United States.

This story was produced in partnership with the First Days Project.

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